James Lee Burke’s Theology of Redemption

Janis E. Haswell


In his 23 novels featuring character Dave Robicheaux, James Lee Burke poses a fundamentally moral (and unanswerable) question: how does a good man maintain himself in the face of evil? From Neon Rain (1987) to A Private Cathedral (2020), Burke develops Robicheaux as both a detective and a narrator, reminiscent of the pastoral genre, where shepherds spent their leisurely, idyllic summer days in singing contests. Like the classical shepherds/poets double, Robicheaux is cop/storyteller and seeks to redeem criminals in both capacities. Burke ultimately illustrates how good and evil will always, must always, co-exist both within individuals and society.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.22158/sll.v4n3p119


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